QUEER VOICES
07/02/2013 10:48 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Ryan James Yezak, Documentary Filmmaker, To Hold First National Gay Blood Drive (VIDEO)

In 1985 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began enforcing a ban on blood donations from men who have had sex with other men anytime after 1977 for fear of drawing HIV-contaminated blood. Though much has happened in the last 30 years, and even with today's advanced HIV screenings, they refuse to change their stance on the ban.

Ryan James Yezak, the director of the upcoming documentary "Second Class Citizens," hopes to change this with the first ever National Gay Blood Drive on July 12.

All across the country on July 12 from 9am to 5pm PST, gay and bisexual men, (also known as "MSM donors") can show up to a designated blood donation center where a mobile HIV testing center will be waiting. The men will be tested, and once the test is negative, they can attempt to donate blood. When the men are rejected from giving blood, their HIV test results will be compiled and delivered to the FDA, to show the administration why they should lift their ban.

In a press release about the Blood Drive, Yezak says:

"The
 ban 
is 
outdated, 
and 
as 
a 
result,
 countless
 otherwise 
eligible 
gay 
and 
bisexual 
men 
are 
unable 
to 
contribute 
to 
the
nation’s
 blood 
supply 
and 
help 
save 
lives.
 
Especially a 
time 
when 
blood 
shortages 
are 
increasingly
 common.
 Not 
only 
that,
 but
 the
 ban 
perpetuates 
negative 
stereotypes 
and 
stigma. 
Whether
 intentional 
or 
not, 
it
 is 
discrimination
 based 
on 
sexual 
orientation.”

The American Medical Association (AMA) also recently came out against the gay blood ban, saying the ban is "discriminatory" and "not based on sound science."

For more information on the National Gay Blood Drive, watch the video above featuring Yezak, and check out his YouTube page on July 8 when his next YouTube video "National Gay Blood Drive" is released.

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